Market opportunities do not explain the ability of herders to meet livelihood objectives over winter on the Mongolian Plateau
Drylands under pastoral land use are considered one of the most vulnerable social-ecological systems to global climate change, but the herders' abilities to adapt to the different extreme weather events have received little attention in the drylands. Herders on the Mongolian Plateau (MP; including Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China and Mongolia), have had a long history of adapting climatic variability and extreme weather events. However, it is unclear how changes such as increased levels of infrastructure and market integration affect the ability of herders to achieve the key livelihood objectives: the minimisation of the death and abortion rates of livestock in the winter. Here, we used remotely sensed and household survey data to map, model and explore the climate exposure and sensitivity of herders in the settled area (Inner Mongolia of China) and nomadic area (Mongolia) in the winter of 2012–2013. We aimed to quantify the multi-scaled characteristics of both climate exposure and sensitivity through the lens of key adaptive strategies utilized by herders. Our results showed that the higher levels of infrastructure and market integration, and the lower levels of remoteness on the MP did not increase the herders' ability to achieve the key livelihood objectives. Our results also suggested that exposure to the snow that is comparatively greater than the long-term average (cumulative exposure) may be more important in determining the social-ecological vulnerability than absolute exposure. We suggested that neither the risk management strategies available to these herders, nor the demographic variables, could compensate for the mode of production governing the pastoral systems. Our study could provide further evidence for the complex and scaled nature of climate exposure and sensitivity, and the results imply that any analysis of the relationship among exposure, sensitivity and vulnerability of pastoral households to climate change in the drylands will require a multi-scaled and interdisciplinary approach.
climate change; extreme weather events; adaptive strategies; vulnerability; households; winter; livelihood
BAI, Haihua; YIN, Yanting; ADDISON, Jane; HOU, Yulu; and WANG, Linhe
"Market opportunities do not explain the ability of herders to meet livelihood objectives over winter on the Mongolian Plateau,"
Journal of Arid Land: Vol. 12
, Article 12.
Available at: https://egijournals.researchcommons.org/journal-of-arid-land/vol12/iss3/12